UK

DAN WOOTTON: Covid variants are going to be a fact of life for years

‘The general rule over human history is that once powers are yielded to the state at moments of crisis or emergency, it’s never the case – or very very, rarely the case – that the state hands them back.’

The words of Michael Gove in 2009 as he railed against Tony Blair‘s failed attempt to introduce ID cards.

Yup, that’s the same Michael Gove who now, as a senior government minister, is doing all he can to ensure the state maintains control over every aspect of our lives, even as the coronavirus pandemic very clearly subsides, the Indian variant notwithstanding.

So what’s changed? Is the only difference that Gove is now in power and thinks he knows best how to micromanage the lives of free citizens?

Sadly, this government – and the SAGE scaremongers who pull the strings behind-the-scenes – have become addicted to the powers they’ve taken from us.

Michael Gove is doing all he can to ensure the state maintains control over every aspect of our lives, even as the pandemic very clearly subsides, the Indian variant notwithstanding

And they don’t want to give them back, especially seeing such previously unthinkable state controls appear to be temporarily politically popular in a nation scared stiff by an unrelenting official Covid propaganda campaign.

So I celebrate the travellers and small businesses and party animals who are slowly but surely taking back control of their lives.

We are arriving at a tipping point where the fully vaccinated must take off the government shackles before we’re imprisoned in a world of burdensome Covid regulations for the rest of our lives.

Despite what you might see on the TV news, we are largely safe in the UK now.

The vast majority of folk who are vulnerable to serious illness from Covid have had the offer of a vaccine.

Fatalities from Covid are at an eight-month low. They’ve plunged 98 per cent from the height of the second peak, with the death toll from the flu now double the number. Just one in 63 deaths were linked to Covid over the past week.

They are the facts.

I celebrate the travellers and small businesses and party animals who are slowly but surely taking back control of their lives. Pictured: Three women at a bar in Huddersfield on Monday

I celebrate the travellers and small businesses and party animals who are slowly but surely taking back control of their lives. Pictured: Three women at a bar in Huddersfield on Monday

The collateral damage caused by incessant lockdowns and restrictions is no doubt far more dangerous, but you don’t hear the government or vast swathes of the media talking about that.

Variants of Covid-19 are going to be a part of life for the next two years at least.

Countries like ours need to be confident and bold that vaccines will be able to deal with them.

This was the great promise of a perfectly executed rollout spearheaded by Kate Bingham. The Chair of the Vaccine Taskforce was wrongly derided by the left as a Tory stooge but is someone who I believe should be made a Dame for her heroic work.

However, so many of Kate’s great early efforts are being squandered by the current paranoia.

So far there is no evidence that the Indian variant, for example, evades the vaccines. Our vaccine take-up, at close to 90 per cent, is one of the best in the world.

Why then are government sources briefing incessantly that the chances of Freedom Day on June 21st going ahead are close to nil? In fact, they warn that the limited freedoms most of us were granted on Monday might have to be rolled back.

A person holding a mobile phone displaying the NHS app, which will display Covid-19 status

A person holding a mobile phone displaying the NHS app, which will display Covid-19 status 

Businesses and the wider public will only be informed of the decision on June 14th, with uncertainty at an all-time high.

It’s depressing to me that this news has only been greeted with the tiniest ripple of discontent.

Are we now all so browbeaten and exhausted by the past year that we can’t bring ourselves to care anymore?

Just think about what that decision would mean in practice.

The Great British summer, promised all year by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, would be off.

Stadiums near empty. Concerts cancelled. Festivals called off. Theatres shuttered once more. Restaurants and pubs unable to survive due to limited capacity.

 

Don’t underestimate the fact that the future of entire industries are now at stake.

And then we would exit summer fully vaccinated but heading into another winter where seasonal illnesses like Covid inevitably peak again.

This is a never-ending cycle of misery, kicking any return to normal life into the long grass.

The travel industry – already on life support – has just been dealt yet another blow.

On a day of confusion over what’s allowed, the hysterical health minister Lord Bethell, who has close ties to Matt Hancock, proclaimed yesterday: ‘Travelling is dangerous. This is not news to us or the people who get on those planes in the first place. We do as people, particularly as we go into the summer, travelling is not for this year, please stay in this country.’

I can literally feel the frustration of travel industry workers who see their futures slipping through their fingers.

And what about the millions of Brits like me whose families live abroad. How long do we miss out on seeing loved ones?

 

EasyJet chief Johan Lundgren put it best when he said: ‘Having set up a framework for international travel the Government seems to be single-handedly dismantling it and causing mass confusion with mixed messages and complex testing requirements.

‘Let’s face it – in this version of a traffic light system – green doesn’t mean green with all its testing restrictions and now amber, according to some ministers, actually means red.

‘No wonder the British public is confused. And in the meantime Europe moves forward with sensible travel frameworks which enable people to safely travel again while the UK tries to close down travel to all but a couple of countries.’

The Indian variant is on the rise in Great Britain because the government didn’t lock down the border fast enough.

If they are going to maintain a lax border policy then they have to accept variants will be imported and have the confidence that our superior vaccine programme is able to deal with that. I’m more than comfortable with that scenario.

But right now we are dealing with the worst of both worlds.

The government’s paranoia over reopening is putting us out of step with the rest of the world, too.

The USA is this week celebrating a glorious return to freedom, with TV presenters pulling off masks and ditching social distancing altogether.

The EU is expected to imminently reveal plans to welcome fully-vaccinated Brits to the continent over summer, without the need for any tests or mandatory quarantine.

There is no good reason why we shouldn’t follow suit.

Fear is now the greatest threat to restoring our freedoms.

The time has come for Michael Gove to prove he hasn’t been corrupted by power and hand back our God given civil liberties then butt out of our lives.


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